The biggest no-brainer purchase EVER!

I’m doing a new challenge, one I’ve decided not to blog about until it’s complete.  Well, I guess I’m breaking my own rule here, as the challenge is for 2 months and I haven’t even completed the first month.  The challenge is to buy nothing new.  This excludes groceries and toiletries, of course.  I’m keeping a list of things I would have bought or potentially bought.  In the first 10 days, my imaginary purchases totalled over $500!!!  Seriously.

scotts push mowerYesterday, I made a purchase.  It’s one I’ve been considering for a while.  I bought a lawn mower.  Not just any lawn mower, a manual push mower.  I weighed all the pros and cons, and the answer was clear.  Buy it now.

Pros

  • Save $.  I’m saving $810 a year, as I had a yard service.  I’m not lazy, just busy.  Besides, my yard tools caught on fire several years ago and I just knew that was a sign from God to get a yard guy.  :)
  • Help global warming.  A typical gas-powered mower used for one hour is the same emissions equivalent of driving your car for 100 miles. (about.com)
  • Eco-friendly.  This shocked me.  More gas is spilled refueling mowers each year than the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez.  Wow. (EPA)  Continue reading

kill the plastic squirrels: retail entertainment

Rethink shopping.  I really am not a huge fan of shopping in most situations.  We practice the ‘no impulse buys’ philosophy.  If you see something you want, and you remember it 24 hours later, then you can go back and get it.  This saves us HUGE amounts of money!

We went to Garden Ridge to look for some planters for the yard, and only because we were in the area.  We found nothing of interest to buy, but we sure had fun playing in the store.  It’s amazing we didn’t get kicked out.

You might be asking why I would even go into a store since I have no intention of purchasing anything.  Sometimes I just need to get out of the house.  Other times I just like to see about all the current purchasing hype and expensive fashion trends.  We have enough self-control to go into a store and know we’re not going to buy anything, so we go to look around and have some fun.  There are so many phone-camera photo ops in retail stores.

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…customers will form a line outside the store…

I love reading and making fun of the Black Friday ads, but better than that, reading the fine print can be quite entertaining.  I started this last year on black friday.  I got to do it this year with my friends Jason and Carrie.  You can read last year’s post about this or just read this year’s insanity.  Get out your reading glasses…

Let’s start with the big stuff.

ACADEMY.COM OPEN THANKSGIVING DAY!  Wow!  What a great idea!!  Have your online story open on Thanksgiving day!!  Why didn’t anyone else think of that???  LOWES.COM says you can start on Thursday.  Sure glad they gave me permission!

Guitar Center:  They have happy returns and surprise protection.  And you can shop from your smartphone!  Again, why didn’t I think of that???

Kohl’s Early Bird Deal:  For $19.99 (regularly $49.99) you can get a motion-activated candy dispenser.  (a) It’s plastic crap nobody needs, (b) do you really want candy spilling out on the floor every time you walk by this thing?  (c) It probably takes batteries, and really big ones.  (d) Does your family need candy?  You probably still have leftovers from Halloween.  (e) Candy not included.

Now for some fine print.

Old Navy:  Customers will form a line outside the store.  I guess it’s good to be prepared.  It’s kind of presumptuous though.  And they’re giving out cameras.  If they’re a clothing store, why give out cameras?  I just don’t get it.

Burlington:  *Savings off other fine department stores.  Great!  they’re cheaper than Neiman Marcus!  I’m getting a deal!!

Dick’s Sporting Goods:  Something about a cash bonus.  Here’s a picture of it, because I cannot read it easily and it would take so long to figure out what this deal really is that it’s just not worth it.  The one thing we know is that your $99 purchase must be all the same brand, even though they have 3 brands pictured.  Don’t even think about mixing and matching!

 

rethinking good in frisco style magazine

Thanks so much to Frisco Style Magazine for rethinking good in their August 2011 arts issue.  No retail shopping for one year has proven to be a great way to rethink no only shopping, but the way we live life.  Here’s a few of the blog posts related to the article if you would like more details.  Thanks again for rethinking good!

What is the no retail shopping challenge? [info]

Back to school [day 58]

School supply update [day 83] 

To Infiniti and beyond! [day 175]

Airing my dirty laundry… and clean laundry [day 235]

My new minimalist challenge [day 266]

Cost analysis, kid style [day 309]

Do you share your household budget with your kids? [day 337]

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I really tried, but I just couldn’t do it

Since the no retail challenge ended over a month ago, I stil haven’t shopped retail very much.  Shortly after it ended, I thought I would buy a car charger for my phone and a case to protect my iPad 2.  No, I didn’t buy the iPad, I won it.  I’ve been carrying it around in a Ziplock baggie and my friends say it looks like an evidence bag.

Off to Best Buy.  I had no desire to go in there, but I reluctantly crossed the threshold into the air-conditioned abyss of electronics and accessories.  I quickly found the iPad cases, ranging from $39 to $69.  I picked them up, touched them, then I set them right back down.  I just couldn’t spend that kind of money on a case.

I then found the car charger.  $29.99 for the cheapest one.  I carried it around for a little while, then put it back.  I thought maybe I should get one of those car plug converters that change the car outlet into a standard plug outlet.  That was $35.  Again, I picked it up, held it for a moment pondering this purchase, then I put it back.

I left the store feeling like I had wasted time.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to make those purchases and be okay with them.  I ended up using my evidence bag for a couple more weeks until I got my faux leather case for $12.00, including shipping, on eBay.  As for the charger, I ended up buying one retail at the Apple store out of necessity.  I paid $24.99 for it.  I don’t feel great about it and I doubt I will do that again anytime soon.

After a year of no retail shopping, I have really changed.  Honestly, I don’t have less stuff than other people and I don’t live much differently than other people, I just go about my shopping process a lot differently.  Retail shopping just isn’t my thing.  So what if I need something?

Plan. If I plan ahead, I don’t have to buy it right away and I can ‘shop’ around for the best deal.

Need. Do I really need it?  The iPad case was a need, as I have two boys that use it.  It needed protection.  But before I buy something, I like to look for alternatives.  The baggie worked nice for a little while, for screen protection anyway.

Think. Had I really thought about it, I would have realized that buying these things at a retail store would cost more than what I was willing to spend.  And I would have been right.  There’s an hour I’ll never get back.

I’ll retail shop again at some point, but those visits will be few and far between.